Tangle: articles

Acting is about getting into somebody else's psyche ... Rush and Tangle star Catherine McClements. Picture: John Fotiadis Source: The Daily Telegraph

Rush and Tangle star Catherine McClements never wanted to be famous

CATHERINE McClements is one of Australia's most enigmatic performers. In a career spanning 24 years, she has displayed an impressive set of acting tools in projects as diverse as Water Rats, CrashBurn, After the Deluge and, more recently, relationships drama Tangle and cop series Rush.

McClements, however, has not found it easy to negotiate the slippery course between celebrity and anonymity.

Friends say she's anything but aloof; that she has an earthiness that transcends the image-obsessed world of showbiz, but there's no denying McClements' fierce protection of her privacy has made it a challenge to ascertain what makes her tick in her life at and away from her work.

McClements, married to actor Jacek Koman and mum to Clementine, 9, and Quincy, 3, says: "With acting now you see a lot more young people wanting to do it to be famous. Acting as a profession is about getting inside someone else's psyche, not being famous and getting caught with your pants down. It was a different world when I came out of drama school."

Though McClements has tried hard to keep her own life out of the media, aspects of it have had more press coverage than she would like. There were headlines after the discovery she'd been stalked for 18 months by a female fan in 1998.

Her decision to stay quiet about it has partly been out of respect to others involved in the case.

McClements has in the past said she dealt with it "in my own way", choosing not to turn the incidents into a publicity seeking exercise. Her passion for her work, however, has never been in doubt. She has embraced the atmosphere on the set of Rush and refers to her role in Tangle as a "gift".

Tangle centres on the complicated lives and loves of three sisters: Christine (McClements), Ally (Justine Clarke) and Nat Manning (Kat Stewart).

In last year's first season, Christine was the moral compass, the good wife to politician husband Tim and devoted mother to Max, the son born from an affair between her husband and Nat. Her insecurities were inflamed with Nat's return from overseas. It tested the depth of her relationship with Max and her identity as wife and mother.

In the new season, her own morality is challenged with the arrival of Spiro Georgiades (Don Hany), her husband's new adviser. Her husband's late nights prompt Christine to punish him - or herself - by smoking dope and flaunting her inappropriateness as he climbs the party ladder.

McClements has relished portraying the unravelling of Christine's strict ethical code.

"In one scene, everyone is stoned, or getting drunk or doing coke off the top of a toilet and Christine is standing there playing the good girl," McClements says.

"I just looked at it and thought, 'Oh for God's sake, get off your high horse and live a little'. That was the pleasure of playing Christine."

Parenting is a key theme in the show, allowing McClements to draw on her experience as a mum.

"They (today's children) can't go out in the world, in the street, the way that we did. Of course, there's no one out there, but we still go to the effort of arranging play dates with someone, to ease our guilt and fears.

"There's not that freedom to connect for kids. Tangle treats that dilemma in a very deep and meaningful way. They (kids) seem so aimless, more lost than any other generation. In some ways they are disconnected from their parents and each other, but in others they live in this secret, risk-taking world almost as if to test or provoke their parents."

By Rebekah Devlin and Holly Byrnes
July 14, 2010
The Daily Telegraph